Chatroulette

by FRANNY CHOI

 

To see, to come, I brought myself online.

O dirty church. O two-way periscope,

refectory for Earth’s most skin-starved cocks.

O hungry sons of helicopter palms

 

in hopeful carousel.  O gatling spray

of skin that charges forth from dim-lit shorts

when I wave back, nod, yes, I’m here, I’m real,

and shape myself a woman’s shape, a girl’s

 

live-action hologram projected on

their basement brains. My foul amygdala

Prince Thirstings, desperate congregations, pink

or blue-brown mammals begging for my face.

 

Outside the frame, my eight eyes narrow. Yes.

I nod. Amen. I am your filthy god.

 

 

 

: : : :

 

 

 

I nod. Amen. I am your filthy god,

your predator-elect. I’ll wrap your mouths

in silken Os around my phantom thumb.

Now drink. I’ll scrape the lonely from your teeth,

 

defuse the ticking marrow in your pit,

that clotted place you call a heart. I’ll flash

a blood-sloshed smile and whisper, do you want

to marry it? To take me as your law?

 

I’ll make you liquid men. I’ll watch you eat

my image, icon, rumor of a god

who wants you back. Who wants to watch you dance

your crooked dance, your sad attempts at flight.

 

But stay down, insect, stay. Just send them here,

your salt-licked gifts, to prove you know I’m real.

 

 

 

: : : :

 

 

 

These salt-logged gifts, they promise me I’m real.

My body is its image, here. My image,

just an always-dying thing, asking its own

disgusting question. Yes, I do have bones.

 

I gag on water. Yes, my blood eats air

and makes a mess beneath my skin. And what

do I consume? Whatever keeps me flesh.

Tonight: a tide of faceless supplicants

 

who call me by the name my mother made

with mud and marrow, veins, vermillion, silk;

they call me baby. Call me vertebrate.

They christen me with tongues against the glass.

 

I drink and drink their looking, til I’m soaked.

I drink and drown in want. I drink, and choke.

 

 

 

: : : :

 

 

 

I drink and drown in want. I drink. I choke

just like a girl, exactly like a girl

who’s come to rot, to retch. To cough it up.

To drool mascara down her shaking chin.

 

I am the kind of girl who looks for men

to wipe away her face. I am the kind

of girl to peel her skin and show the work

of worms below. The kind to open up,

 

I guess, in public, in the stocks – that’s me,

oh god. A trough for ants. A dirty plate.

A sour, yellow streak behind the fridge.

Chicken skin distending. Sweat spots. Milk.

 

I wanted nothing. Please, I didn’t mean

to end this way – a smear of gut and shell.

 

 

 

: : : :

 

 

 

To end this way, a smear of gut and shell

against the bedroom wall, crushed by a thumb

belonging to a man, a swatting fan

in heat? Don’t worry. That’s not how I go.

 

Look. Even when I wanted it, I didn’t

always. Couldn’t always bring myself

to crack the shell, suck out the pearly meat,

tie up what’s left and feed it to my brood.

 

Not skin, not god, not bones, my own, or theirs.

It was the web I wanted all along:

A face to spin from air with spit and hands.

A sticky picture luring meals to leave

 

untouched. To be a girl untouched, alive,

who sees, and comes. Who brings herself online.